The Most Common Horse Diseases: Their Symptoms & Treatment


Common horse ailments

brown horse


The owners of horses must be aware of common horse ailments to ensure their animal’s health. The inability to grasp the basics of common equine ailments and their causes could cause devastating outcomes for your horse.

This is not only harmful to the animal, however, but it can also limit your enjoyment of spending time with your horses. Horses are vulnerable to a variety of ailments that can be prevented through vaccinations and proper treatment.

I’ll go over the most prevalent horse ailments along with their causes and signs and will give you tips on how to protect your horse against these diseases. But, even with the best of care, there are horses that suffer from illness, just as we do.

Strangles (Streptococcus equi)

Strangles is a significant issue in the world’s horse population, as it is among the most commonly diagnosed disease. Strangles are an infection of the bacterial lymph nodes of the throat of horses.

The lymph nodes that are infected grow and expand, and eventually explode. If the nodes infected burst and release the pus, it is able to drain from the horse’s nose and under its jaws. The swelling and the bursting of lymph glands engorge the horse, hence the name “stranger.

Streptococcus Equi is the bacterium that causes the illness and can easily be transmitted among horses. The bacteria can survive outside of the horse’s body and remain for days in the barn or in the horse’s tack.

It’s usually spread throughout the horse farms, sharing water sources as well as a tack. Streptococcus Equi is a tough bacteria that has been in existence for a long time.

The signs of strangles.

Strangles are a type of bacterial infection that causes an animal with an infection’s lymph nodes to develop abscesses that expand and explode, discharging a thick yellowish-green mucous snot.

The signs of horses suffering from infection include symptoms of fever, mucous discharge depression, lethargy, increased appetite, coughing, and trouble swallowing.

Strangles isn’t usually fatal, However, horses suffering from nerve system infections caused by strangles have passed away in severe instances.

Strangle prevention.

Strangles is among the most frequent horse diseases around the globe because it is difficult to fight. It has been known since the 13th century.

There are vaccines to treat the condition However, the majority of them are associated with adverse consequences that make their use doubtful. But, the science community is continually developing new and improved vaccines. So, consult your doctor for the most current information.

The best method of preventing the spread of the disease is to conduct thorough testing and the isolation of infected horses and other equipment. If your horse has a positive test, wash everything and isolate the animal that is infected.

To make your work effective To be effective, you must be thorough. Remember that bacteria are extremely strong and will be able to survive outside and even at extreme temperatures. Cleanse your clothes and any equipment with which your horse has come in contact. Cleanliness will prevent the transmission of disease to other animals that live on your farm.

Treatment for strangles

Treatment could include removing your lymph nodes clear of pus using an instrument before treating the problem by applying a topical antibiotic. But, before this becomes needed, vets usually prescribe anti-inflammatory medications for horses to ease fever and to make them feel well enough to be able to eat again.

Applying hot compresses to the lymph glands as well as feeding watery food on the floor can aid in draining the abscesses and healing. Sometimes, vets will prescribe antibiotics.

Equine herpesvirus

Equine herpesvirus 4 is the most prevalent equine disease around the globe and is among the top prevalent horse diseases worldwide. It is most often associated with respiratory problems and sometimes abortions or neurologic diseases.

Another herpesvirus type that is commonly seen is herpesvirus-1. This causes respiratory illness and abortive as well as neurologic disorders. Both strains are typically found in yearlings and weanlings.

It is also thought that older horses have the virus, but do not show signs of the infection. If the horse has been subjected to this virus the period of incubation may be as little as 24 hours, but it is usually between four and six days or more.

It is usually transmitted by inhalation of the disease in the air due to coughing by horses infected.

Signs of equine herpesvirus.

The symptoms of the more prevalent horse herpesvirus 4 include coughing, fever nasal discharge, lymph nodes that are enlarged, and weight loss, as well as lethargy as well as eye infections like keratitis and conjunctivitis.

The prevention of equine herpesvirus infections.

brown and white horse eye

To stop the spread of the equine herpesvirus

  1. Insulate horses that are infected.
  2. Don’t share tack and clean all areas that are shared.
  3. Hand sanitizers are recommended after having been exposed to a horse with an infection.

There are vaccines available for specific types of herpesvirus, however, these appear to prevent the spread of the disease, but do not keep a horse safe from getting it. There aren’t any vaccines that I’m aware of that shield horses from all types of the equine herpes virus.

Treatment for equine herpesvirus.

The horse you are caring for can be tested by the use of a nasal exchange to prove that it is suffering from an equine herpesvirus infection. What treatment options are available after the disease?

Treatment usually involves medications to decrease coughing and fever and may include a course of antibiotics to avoid secondary infections. If not, the respiratory condition will continue to progress.

If the horse develops neurological impairments that can be linked to the illness A sling could be required to ensure the horse’s uprightness. In the most extreme instances, the horse is fed and water is administered intravenously.


Of all the common horses diseases, colic is the most fatal among domestic horses. It is believed that 10 percent of horses have been diagnosed with colic throughout their lifespan.

Ten percent is a remarkably high amount, however, be aware that the word “colic” is widely used to refer to a variety of equine stomach disorders.

The most common causes of colic include gas ingestion, intestinal impaction, eating too many grains, sand ingestion, and parasite infections. If you suspect that your horse is suffering from colic, look over the signs of colic, make sure you ensure that it is on its feet and then contact your vet.

Do not allow your horse to consume food or drink until you have spoken to your veterinarian.

Signs and symptoms of equine colic.

Colic horses have different behavior. I’ve experienced this firsthand in a couple of horses. One rolled onto the ground, while another kicked its stomach and turned its head in the opposite direction.

Since horses perform a myriad of different things while suffering from colic, it’s difficult to recognize that your horse suffers from the condition. Here’s a list of the most common signs horses exhibit when they suffer from colic:

  • Appetite loss
  • Affection to the earth
  • In the rear, looking back at its flank
  • Letting down
  • A lot of movement in a tense state such as jumping up and down or walking around in circles.
  • It is curling its lip
  • Kicking its stomach
  • The ground is rolling
  • Stretching
  • Sweating
  • Heart rate increase
  • Bloated belly
  • Manure is not as abundant or even nonexistent.
  • Diarrhea

Prevention of colic in horses.

Contrary to some other common horse diseases colic isn’t preventable in all instances, but there are steps you can take to decrease your horse’s chances of contracting the disease.

  • Make sure you have a source of water for your horse.
  • Make sure you turn your horse to the maximum extent you are able.
  • Do not feed hay on the sand ground.
  • Do not provide your horse with the grain unless the horse requires additional energy.
  • Change your horse’s diet gradually.
  • Make sure the horse’s teeth swaying.
  • Get a great program for controlling insects

Treatment for colic in horses.

Since colic is a broad term, it’s important to find out the root reason for the condition and then apply the appropriate treatment. The majority of types of colic can be treated with medication however, severe cases of colic, such as those that cause an impact as well as intestinal twists need surgery.

It is essential to get your horse checked by a vet as soon as possible to determine the appropriate method of treatment. Veterinarians often administer medications or make use of tubes to alleviate gas in the ear to treat colic.


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